Seychelles Travel Guide
The cosmopolitan Seychellois are a colourful blend of peoples of different races, cultures and religions. At different times in its history, people of African, European and Asian origin have come to Seychelles, bringing with them their distinct traditions and customs and contributing to the way of life and to the vibrant Seychellois culture.
One can see these influences at work throughout the domains of local art, cuisine, music, dance and architecture.
Over the years it has traditionally, revolved around certain familiar characters such as 'Soungula', renowned for his cleverness and resourcefulness in solving life's problems as well as other colourful personalities such as Bro Zako, Kader, Tizan and Kousoupa.
Certain popular fables and stories still do the rounds, dating back to those days before television when there was little in the way of popular entertainment and these remain mediums for providing an audience with insights as to the correct way to live, island-style.
The music of the Seychelles is diverse. The folk music of the islands incorporates multiple influences in a syncretic fashion, including African rhythms, aesthetic and instrumentation—such as the zez and the bom (known in Brazil as berimbau), European contredanse, polka and mazurka, French folk and pop, sega from Mauritius and Réunion, taarab, soukous and other pan-African genres, and Polynesian, Indian and Arcadian music.A complex form of percussion music called contombley is popular, as is Moutya, a fusion of native folk rhythms with Kenyan.
The traditional moutya is an erotic dance derived from the days of slavery and still features today, together with the sega with its colourful lyrics; the kanmtole, reminiscent of a country reel, and the contredanse, an import from the French court.
The FLag Symbolism
The flag consists of wedges or rays emanating from the lower left corner. The colors are yellow, red, white, and green, with a blue wedge at the upper left. The flag symbolizes the ocean, the link to Africa, and the multicolored nature of the population. The government that gained power through a coup in 1977 had Marxist leanings and used rhetoric appropriate to that ideology. The country has used a national rhetoric of development and the pioneering spirit, especially in regard to the development of the outer islands.
Seychelles Food & Drink
The staple is curry and rice, which may be eaten two or three times a day. The curry may be based on fish or meat. Coconut milk often is used in the curry. Upper-class Creoles eat meals that consist of both fish and meat. Alcoholism has been prevalent, partly because the plantations used drinks as payments and incentives. Among the working classes drinking tended to be solitary. A typical drink is palm wine, fermented sap tapped from coconut palm fronds.
Seychellois are usually described as laid-back and easygoing. Dress codes are relaxed, and formal clothing is seldom worn. Interpersonal distance is somewhat greater than it is in Europe. Complimentary statements to or about other persons, especially children, are avoided because they may bring misfortune. Greetings are simple.
Religions and Belief
In general, people follow Christian conceptions of death and the afterlife. Linked to ideas about sorcery was the belief that the spirit of a person prematurely killed by sorcery could be made to serve the sorcerer for the duration of that person's natural life span.
The national day is celebrated on 18 June to commemorate the adoption of the constitution in 1993. On 5 June Liberation Day is celebrated in remembrance of the 1977 coup, and on 29 June Independence Day is observed. Labor Day is on 1 May. New Year is celebrated on 1 and 2 January. Christian holidays that are also public holidays include All Saints Day (1 November), Immaculate Conception (8 December), and Christmas Day (25 December).
Seychelles is a matriarchal society. The women tend to be the ones who run businesses and are also very present in the government. They may dress as they please and are generally very free.
There is a dress code in the evenings. Men have to wear long trousers and women are encouraged to dress up (no shorts and/or beach wear).
Women should not be too friendly and open with the men, as this is often misconstrued for sexual interest.
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